MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III will take his time choosing a new chief justice to ensure the integrity of Renato Corona’s replacement, he said in a press conference Wednesday, May 30.
The Constitution gives the President up to 90 days to name a new chief justice after the seat is declared vacant. On Tuesday, May 29, the impeachment court declared Corona guilty of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust. The guilty verdict made Corona’s removal immediate. (Read: CJ position now vacant, per law and Senate.)
“Hindi po natin mamadaliin ang pagpili dahil ayaw nating magkamali at bumalik na naman sa dating sitwasyon,” Aquino said. (We will not rush this because we do not want to make the same mistakes, and return to the previous situation.)
The next senior justice after Corona, Antonio Carpio, serves as acting chief justice while Aquino has not appointed Corona’s replacement.
During the press conference, Aquino also thanked the impeachment court for convicting Corona. “Kung bawat mahistrado kasing talas ninyo mag-isip, siguro di na natin dinaanan ito,” he said. (If every magistrate is as sharp as you, we wouldn’t have to deal with this experience.)
He likewise thanked the prosecutors and gave a special message to Corona’s lawyers. “Sadya man o hindi, nag-ambag kayo sa paglabas ng katotohanan,” Aquino told the defense. (Intentional or not, you helped the truth surface.)
The President has viewed Corona’s impeachment as a crucial part of his anti-corruption drive, which is anchored on the slogan, “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.” (Without corruption, there is no poverty.)
Corona’s lawyers, for their part, are planning their next moves that could possibly include appealing the senator-judges’ verdict before the SC. – Rappler.com